Let’s look at some great ways to save money by improving your home’s energy and water efficiency…
Monthly energy and water bills are often more expensive than what most homeowners would prefer. Utility bills are often difficult to predict, and as the monthly billing cycle nears its end, homeowners may begin worrying if they have used too much water or electricity for the month. Fortunately, there are a number of things homeowners can do to reduce their water and electric bills. With these seven cost-effective tips, homeowners can improve their water and energy efficiency, while lowering their monthly utility bills.
1. Begin With a Home Energy Audit
Every home is a little bit different concerning energy and water usage. Older homes, especially those that have not been recently remodeled, may have older, less efficient heating and cooling systems compared to homes built more recently.
Improving a homes energy efficiency does costs some time and money, so this is where an energy audit comes in handy. Arranging for a home energy audit will assist homeowners in identifying energy and water saving ideas that may be unique for their home.
The results of an energy audit will reveal where the home may be is losing heating or cooling, and what homeowners may do to correct it. In many cases, the homeowner can call a professional to perform the energy audit, but they may also be able to perform it themselves.
2. Increase a Homes Insulation
Before spending a lot of money on other energy saving ideas, homeowners should consider how much cooling or heating they are losing due to inadequate insulation. Keeping a home warm or cool, and how much energy and money is spent doing so, often is directly tied to how well insulated the home actually is.
Improving the insulation, particularly in an attic, will help to preserve the indoor temperature. Additionally, wall, window and door insulation should keep the warm or cool air in the home and not allow too much to escape.
In addition to insulation, the use of double or even triple pane windows also insulates a home from cold (or hot) weather. Single pane windows, especially those in older wooden framed windows are well known for not being very energy efficient.
3. Switch to Water-Saving Fixtures
Energy efficiency also relates to water consumption in the home. Older faucets and fixtures can use far more water than newer products available on the market.
For example, in the bathroom, homeowners using an older toilet will flush about 30 percent of their total monthly water consumption down the toilet. Older toilets often use as much as 6 gallons per flush.
That can translate into hundreds of gallons of wasted water per month. Current federal regulations suggest a standard of 1.6 gallons per flush for new toilets.
Toilets with the WaterSense designation use even less water at only 1.28 gallons per flush. Additionally, newer facets use less water though still have almost the same water force and stream as before.
4. Invest in Newer Home Heating & Cooling Units
Purchasing a new home heating unit, air conditioner, or heat pump is one of the most energy saving things a homeowner can do. Though often initially expensive, upgrading these systems are usually quite cost-effective.
The vast majority of a home’s energy consumption is tied up in heating and cooling. Older air conditioning compressors, fans and heating elements work much less effectively and efficiently than those manufactured today. Even the simple act of replacing an old wall thermostat may generate energy and utility bill savings.
5. Upgrade Appliances
Like the heating and cooling systems of a home, other appliances can become greedy for energy and water if left in place too long. People might not think much about the consumption of their:
- clothes washer
- water heater
However, even though these appliances may not use as much electricity as heating or cooling the home, they do matter. Replacing these older appliances could lead to an aggregate improvement in efficiency, and lower energy costs. As an added benefit, most new washers and dishwashers also use less water than their outdated counterparts.
6. Install Effective Lawn Watering Systems
Another common source of unnecessary water use is yard watering. Homeowners who may rely on a hose or above-ground sprinkler setup may think they are saving water by irrigating their yard and garden manually.
This may not be correct. A built-in sprinkling system can be set to a time, say early in the morning or at night, to maximize absorption and minimize evaporation.
Different types of watering functions, like drip irrigation, can also protect delicate plants and ensure more effective watering. And, to further water use efficiencies, a homeowner could install rain barrels to take advantage of rainfall.
7. Convert to LED Light Bulbs
Sometimes, making small improvements can yield a positive effect without needing to cost a great deal of money. People rely on artificial lighting in the home, especially during the long nights of winter.
Replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs could save a lot of money over time. Although these bulbs do tend to cost more to purchase initially, they do use a small fraction of the energy needed to produce the same amount of light.
They can also last much longer than regular bulbs. People who buy LED light bulbs for their entire home may not need to buy them again for many years. Additionally, LED lighting gives a homeowner more choices for both style and function for different rooms of their home.
Upgrading the home for better efficiency could be a great way to save money on energy and water bills, too. And by becoming more energy efficient, homeowners have a chance to become more environmentally-friendly and more cost-conscious as well.
Well there you have it! A big thanks to Justin Havre for this great article about cost effective ways to improve your home’s energy and water efficiency!
Justin Havre is a Calgary native and owner of Justin Havre & Associates. Justin is an award winning real estate agent with many years of experience of helping people buy and sell homes in the Calgary area. Check out his website at justinhavre.com